My fiance and I are both moderate progressives living in Colorado Springs, but I miss the beautiful nature and hiking in NC from my teen years. However, I don't miss people there. I want to live somewhere hopefully near the wonderful Appalachian mountains, but where I feel we as non-religious progressives will feel we're among like-minded individuals at least some of the time.
A dog friendly town would be a huge plus, as we have two large-breed pups that love to run.
As far as work, I'm an office admin (which I can find anywhere) while my fiance is more involved with computer technology and/or gun-smithing. The fact that VA hasn't updated its minimum wage since the early 2000s has me concerned... would a shared income of $60,000 between us still be easily do-able?
I'm considering Charlotte for it's culture, but Roanoke is more within our current budget. Would the compromise be worth it, or is what I'm reading about racism and drug use in Roanoke true enough to be a concern?